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No plan to devalue the naira—CBN

by Business News Report

There is no truth whatsoever in speculations that the naira has been devalued or that a devaluation is imminent, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said.

The bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications Department, Isaac Okorafor, described the speculations as the handiwork of those who are bent on seeing Nigeria do their bidding and using the uncensored social media.

According to him, the devaluation of the naira would come with an official announcement and not speculation, assuring that the CBN has no plan for that as its current measures to stem the foreign exchange challenges are gradually yielding the desired results.He therefore, called on the public to disregard the reports or speculations.

Meanwhile, there are indications that beyond claims of readiness to extend credit facilities to the private sector, the deposit money banks are currently running away from their responsibility as resurging loan defaults tend to overwhelm them.

Specifically, at the end of April 2016, the industry’s non-performing loans portfolio had already reached a new high of N649.63 billion, representing a 78 per cent increase since December 2014.
The development, which has now become a source of worry to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), although it continues to assure that the banking system remains resilient and sound, has exceeded the target band of five per cent of gross loans in the industry and now at 5.2 per cent.

Consequently, banks have now drastically reduced their lending portfolios, even developing apathy to the intervention and development finance of CBN made for small businesses, on the ground that they would be held responsible if they fail and that the interest rate margin pegged at nine per cent is not attractive. Besides, the CBN has projected that Nigerian rice farmers would start exporting rice to other countries in the next 24 months as a fallout of the apex bank’s Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) that has benefited farmers in Kebbi State.

Okorafor who made the disclosure in Lokoja at the bank’s fair  said out of the 6.1 million tonnes of rice needed to feed Nigeria, Kebbi State farmers produced over one million tonnes for the year. Okorafor who was speaking against the backdrop of bitter experiences of farmers when they take loans to expand their capacity and end up incurring more losses due to lack of markets and perishability said the ABP was conceived to enhance their capacity.



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